4 men sentenced after exploiting homeless around Providence for nearly $700K

United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island. (WLNE)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — United States Attorney Zachary Cunha said Wednesday that four men from Georgia were sentenced to federal prison for their involvement in a scheme that exploited homeless people around Providence.

Cunha’s office said that 28-year-old Jalen Ronald Stanford, Cortavious Benford, Michael Williams, and Austin Weaver — who are 27 years old — all participated in a scheme where they recruited homeless people and had them cash hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of counterfeit checks around several states.

The checks were in an amount over $2,000 and were made out to the homeless people who agreed to be driven to banks around Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Maine.

An investigation by the United States Secret Service found that $677,687 worth of counterfeit checks were brought to banks. Those checks cost financial investors nearly $481,000 between October 2018 to February 2021.

The four were all convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Benford and Stanford were both sentenced to serve two years in federal prison. Williams was sentenced to serve 41 months and Weaver was sentenced to 30 months.

All four men were ordered to pay a total of $480.943.71 in restitution.

Categories: News, Regional News, Rhode Island